City lose after penalty heartache

FA Cup first-round replayAldershot 2 Chelmsford City 0CHELMSFORD City exited the FA Cup at Aldershot last night, having no answer to a blistering second-half display from their Conference hosts.

By Carl Marston

FA Cup first-round replay

Aldershot 2 Chelmsford City 0

By Carl Marston


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CHELMSFORD City exited the FA Cup at Aldershot last night, having no answer to a blistering second-half display from their Conference hosts.

Jeff King's side enjoyed the better of the first-half, but they tired on a heavy pitch and never really recovered from conceding a rather dubious penalty in the 52nd minute.

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Clarets defender Ben Chenery was harshly adjudged to have handled in the penalty area, and Darren Barnard converted the spot kick. An 80th-minute strike from Shots leading scorer John Grant merely sealed Chelmsford's fate.

The Clarets therefore miss out on a second-round home tie against Basingstoke, with the possibility of a lucrative third-round tie to follow.

Manager King rued: “The game hinged on the penalty decision. We didn't think it was a penalty, and the lad closest to Chenery said that it was an embarrassing decision.

“We were left chasing the game after that, but the lads gave everything and we had terrific support from our fans (nine coach-loads of supporters made the journey from Essex). Our main aim is to win the league.”

Chelmsford should really have killed off this tie in the first match, a 1-1 draw at Melbourne Stadium, and they created a number of chances in an absorbing first period in Hampshire.

Ricky Holmes burst onto Jeff Minton's pass and drilled in an angled drive that Shots keeper Nikki Bull was at full stretch to palm away on 14 minutes. Bull was also busy smothering Mario Noto's free-kick, which was curled over the defensive wall and towards the far post.

Noto was guilty of missing a great chance to break the deadlock in the last minutes of the first-half. It was a terrific Clarets move, sparked off by Holmes' bustling run down the right wing. Kezie Ibe was on hand to square into the path of the onrushing Noto, who scooped his shot over the bar with just Bull to beat from 10 yards out. It was to prove a costly miss.

Aldershot took time to settle but ex-Colchester United keeper Richard McKinney was at his best to gather Mark Molesley's ferocious shot on the turn before the break. McKinney was beaten by John Grant's intelligent lob, only for defender Duffy to hook the ball off the goal-line.

But McKinney was powerless to prevent Aldershot from taking the lead, via the penalty spot, in the 52nd minute. Chenery's hand-ball, under pressure from John Grant, was punished by left-back Barnard, who rifled home the spot kick to McKinney's right.

The Irishman guessed the right way, but the shot was struck with too much venom.

Chelmsford rather lost their way after falling behind. They were penned in their own half of the pitch for long periods, and any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out by a second goal for the Shots in the 80th minute.

Louis Soares rolled the perfect ball across the face of goal for John Grant to sweep into an unguarded net from point-blank range. It was his 10th goal of the season.

Teams

ALDERSHOT: Bull, Smith, Barnard, Newman, Day, Molesley, Lee, Soares, Williams (sub Harding, 89), John Grant and Gayle (sub Joe Grant, 77).Unused subs: Scott, Anderson and Wells.

CHELMSFORD: McKinney, Conroy, Duffy, Chenery, Ward, Mauella (sub Heeroo, 86), Noto, Minton, Ibe, Holmes and Knight (sub Hallett, 46). Unused subs: Battersby, Hopkins and Harrison.

Referee: Mr R East.

Attendance: 2,731.

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